JiuJitsuSweep.com had an awesome opportunity to talk with recently promoted 1st degree black belt Rikki Rockett, drummer for the world renowned band Poison and under Professor Renato Magno .
Rikki Rockett’s reputation goes without saying, as a member of Poison , his hard work and creativity all lead to success with the band, known all around the world as Poison.
But many people in the mainstream media still don’t know that he is an active member of the grappling community as well. As a contributing member of the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rikki has earned his black belt under world famous Jiu Jitsu Professor, Renato Magno.
Rikki trains at Street Sports Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Santa Monica California .
We had an opportunity to talk with Rikki about his start in Jiu Jitsu , his plans to compete, and what the future holds for him as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner.
Rikki, first of all let me thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us, we understand you are planning a tour in the near future with Poison and preparations can be hectic. You are also the founder and owner of Rockett Drum Works in California and we understand your time is valuable.
Training in the world famous Street Sports Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy under Professor Renato Magno and earning your black belt from him over the years, how would you describe him as your Jiu Jitsu coach?
To the outside world, Renato is Professor Renato Magno, to us, he’s just coach. Renato is really the best! I travel 60 miles each way to train with him because it’s worth it. The club and it’s students are worth it. We have everyone from competitive Jiu_jitsu guys and world class boxers like Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini to seasoned actors and producers like David Mamet a couple of Doctors, roofers and mechanics. It’s all over the place, but it’s all about the Jiu-Jitsu when we are there and training. When you are in a Gi, you aren’t in True Religion jeans, a hard hat or a suit so everyone is the same in there. We don’t bow or say Sensei. We train, we say thank you, good job, right on and most of all, can I help you? No room for egos. Renato created that world and we all live in it!
Street Sports Academy sounds like an incredible family atmosphere to train Jiu Jitsu in. That’s the great thing i have found personally about being involved in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world. Once you walk in the door you are equal to everyone else and since we are a tight knit community, we all help each other to evolve in the sport.
Rikki, being a world famous drummer and member of Poison, and to all of your fans ( including myself ) ,where did you first learn about Jiu Jitsu?
I was getting pushed around in the playground when I was a kid and so I told my Dad. He showed me a Osota Gari that he learned in the Marine Corp. I used it and it worked! It wasn’t for many, many years later that I saw the UFC and Royce Gracie and that rekindled my interest in Jiu-Jitsu. Finally I met J.J. and Rigan Machado at a rally and they invited me to train at their school. I went a few days later and got tapped at least 12 times! There I met my coach now, (Renato Magno) and my now longtime friend Eddie Bravo. I signed up the next day!
Incredible ! Rock n Roll definitely has opened doors to many avenues for you Rikki, and Jiu Jitsu is no exception. Being a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt has it’s many benefits , as one of the most high profile Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the grappling world today in terms of mass media, how do you feel the world can benefit from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
I’m not sure I’m all that! Geez! Rickson Gracie! Now that is a high profile Jiu Jitsu practitioner!!!
I understand your question. Again, it is what I said about balancing your life. You need to feel healthy to train BJJ. That leads to wanting to eat better and take better care of yourself. Every branch begins to lead to a tree when this happens. It’s positive! Results begin to appear in many ways and pretty soon you are a changed person. You have camaraderie and respect across the world from fellow BJJ practitioners. Get into drugs, etc and you’ll find where the branches on those trees lead to and it’s negative. If you are a BJJ Practitioner, you won’t want to allow those things into your life as they will drag you down and away from your goals and all the positive things that go along with BJJ training. I hate to sound so esoteric, but once you have done this awhile, there are new meanings to the training and that’s part of what I hope to leave behind. We all know BJJ kicks ass, I don’t have to tell you that!!!
We couldn’t agree with you more , Rikki! It does kick ass! With your years of training in the sport under Renato Magno, do you have any plans to participate in BJJ competitions ?
I have done one so far, The Pan American Games last year (2010). I lost by points advantage to Joao Crus. I doubt I’ll do this year’s Pan Ams as I have a tour to do very close to that competition. I have a ton on my mind preparing for a tour. If my mind isn’t going to be there, my body won’t be either. There are more competitions around the corner. I get one tour with Poison and Motley Crue! However, I will diet and do the preparation like I’m going there to compete. What I will do is help my fellow students who will be competing with whatever they need and I WILL attend.
Well, we are proud to have you as one of the high profile practitioners representing the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and having the mental preparation for competition is one of the keys to success , we look forward to seeing you compete more often , Rikki. Also being an active member of our close knit community has it’s rewards, in terms of raising awareness ,Rikki ,what are you doing to promote Jiu Jitsu to a broader/mainstream audience?
Ya know, last year I thought to myself, I said, “Self, you have been training the amount of time equivalent to that of a guy who has his PHD in something, now what are you going to do with it, old man?” Fact is, I am not going to be a high level Jiu-Jitsu competitor at my age. I am not going to switch over to MMA and compete. Teaching is obviously the next logical step for me. Even though I have had only one competition in Jiu-Jitsu, I have had several when I wrestled in school. Being in front of crowds is natural to me as well. Still, with my wild schedule, how would that work? Well, I have decided that I will start with making people who are in professions like mine feel comfortable on the mat and to realize that you can train regularly without injury. Help them advance themselves in their body, mind and spirit. Direct them to the right coaches for consistent training. Bruce Lee said, “To find your true spiritual self, you must first step through the physical door.” That has been my motto as well. This is true with Jiu-Jitsu, Karate or Yoga. Whatever it is, pushing your body results in transformation of your mind and finally your spirit. It’s part of balancing your life. For me, the more I train, the more balanced I feel. I know that the bizarre pressure that exists in the acting world, music world, etc need to be balanced with an activity like Jiu-Jitsu. It isn’t for everyone, but for those of us who plug into it, there is really nothing that compares!
Not only are you a great drummer, you are also a great motivator ! I feel inspired to have had this opportunity to interview you , Rikki!
We would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us. We look forward to seeing you on tour this year with Poison and Motley Crue, and continued success with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!
Watch for Rikki to compete later this year and be on the lookout for Poison and Motley Crue on the road!!!